BJP MLC from Jammu says ‘momo is a killer’; but is it really? Is Chinese food bad for health?

Jammu and Kashmir BJP legislator Ramesh Arora said consumption of Chinese foods aggravate mild headaches to migraines, results in intestinal colitis in which the lining of the large intestine and the rectum gets inflamed.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2017 2:16 pm
jammu kasmir bjp politician bans momos, j and k bjp mlc ramesh arora bans chinese food, jammu kashmir bjp politician bans momo noodles, bjp politician calls chinese food addictive, indian express, indian express news, indian express health Ramesh Arora said that momo is symbolic of all Chinese dishes that people consume in India, which is why it has been earmarked first. (Source: File Photo)

There is no denying the fact that momo have become the new go-to streetfood across northern and eastern India. Chances are towards the end of your workday, you’d find yourself dreaming of tucking into a plate of steamy, hot momo with succulent meat filling along with that uber spicy red-chilli sauce and mayonnaise dips. The fact that they’re steamed may even convince you that you’re having something healthy.

But BJP MLC in Jammu and Kashmir Ramesh Arora would have none of this, and has taken it upon himself to rid the streets of the ‘Chinese staple’ because of its apparent negative impact on Indian food culture, while posing dangerous health implications for people. The first casualty is the popular yet humble momo, which, according to Arora, are symbolic of all Chinese dishes that people consume in India.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, he said, “These foods contain ajinomoto, a tastemaker that is added in these foods, which in turn makes them addictive,” adding, it has been researched and found out that these dumplings are more dangerous than alcohol and drugs. On June 4, Arora and his supporters even organised a seminar attended by officials from the Food and Drug Control Department, doctors, district administration officials, academicians, businessmen, etc., along with the people of Jammu and Kashmir, all of whom, who he claims, agreed that momo are indeed dangerous for consumption.

“No, replacing ajinomoto with iodised salt will not make Chinese foods any better,” he said, on being asked if the “addictive tastemaker” could be substituted with “desi namak”. But then the snack is steamed. Shouldn’t that add to nutritive value?

“Ajinomoto and maida are definitely not good for health, but they can be had in moderate measures of around once a week,” said Dr Sunali Sharma, dietician and nutritionist, Amandeep Hospital, Amritsar, adding that “it’s not right to just say that Chinese food is bad for health”.

Dr Pankal Pahwal, chief medical officer, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, says these foods are definitely not addictive. “They just trigger a very satisfying feeling in the brain, which is why Chinese foods are very popular,” he explained.

Arora’s reasoning against momo is also hygiene. “The refined flour used in making the foods is unhygienic and that it is just steamed makes it difficult to be digested. There have been cases when doctors have had to operate upon youths for 25-30 times to cure an intestinal problem,” he said. “Our food culture did not just develop overnight. It takes hundreds of years to develop a food culture and these Chinese foods have been trying to destroy that from the past 30 years or so,” the BJP legislator said.

Dr Pahwal agrees partly with Arora. “Maida is very difficult to consume. Especially, when it is just steamed, it becomes very hard for the system to digest it. Samosas and all are fried, which gives it some potential for digestion. Momo on the other hand is steamed. It is always better to avoid it.”

The BJP MLC’s efforts are paying off. “I am happy that the sale of momo has now gone down by 30-35 per cent. The shopkeepers have cooperated and now sell nutri-kulcha,” he said, adding that consumption of Chinese foods aggravate mild headaches to migraines, results in intestinal colitis in which the lining of the large intestine and the rectum gets inflamed.

Dr Sharma, though, feels that the fact that much of Chinese foods are made by steaming and boiling, there is some nutritive value to the food, but insists that nothing beats Indian snacks and foods. So, how does one choose an evening streetfood snack? Sharma said, “Chaat is a healthy option because it has protein, curd, fruits; then there’s bread pakora, followed by momo, patties and then samosas, going by how healthy each of these are.”

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    Chiranjib Chakrabarti
    Jun 28, 2017 at 6:17 pm
    This is a false propaganda. Percentage of disease generating from the food is 18 times higher in India than China. Chinese people average age is also high and physically fit.Results in Olympic (gold medals) is one of the good example of it. Even a small stomach problem in china considered to be a serious disease whereas in India it is common everyday for many people.
    Reply
    1. R
      Rahul Kumar
      Jun 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm
      What about the smoking and drinking? These are good for health ? BJP concentrate on development of our country. Should be stop TUGLAKI farmaan.
      Reply
      1. B
        Bhesh R Kanel
        Jun 10, 2017 at 5:39 pm
        BJP should know that even Indian food SAMOSA requires Flour originated from the Middle East, Potato from Latin America, Onion from Central Asia and common oil either from China. Or Middle East or Europe. What is left are just rice and tur Dal.
        Reply
        1. C
          Chiranjib Chakrabarti
          Jun 28, 2017 at 6:19 pm
          hahahaha
          Reply
        2. H
          Human Resource Management
          Jun 9, 2017 at 6:56 pm
          BJP party is becoming poisonous day by day. Needs to ban it very early to save country.
          Reply
          1. B
            Babaji ka Thullu
            Jun 9, 2017 at 5:01 am
            INTESTINAL colitis! Sir is there something like brain colitis too? I think BJP would have an answer to that. Next is ear colitis for listening to Pharnagi music, Eye colitis for watching foreign TV programes especialy from across the border, or skin colitis for wearing western dress. Good work Arora Ji.
            Reply
            1. V
              Vasudevan Venugopal
              Jun 8, 2017 at 10:48 pm
              Sodium is bad for health. Ajinomoto as well as the common salt contain sodium in varying degrees. Like Indian biological system is conditioned to tolerate certain amount of salt, the systems of Chinese, anese and other eastern cultures tolerate ajinomoto. The amount of sodium our food contains is at times far greater than the tiny amount of ajinomoto that is used in Chinese cooking. If our Cooks use greater quan y of ajinomoto, it is not the fault oof Cinese food. “Ajinomoto and maida are definitely not good for health, but they can be had in moderate measures of around once a week,” said Dr Sunali Sharma, dietician and nutritionist, Amandeep Hospital, Amritsar, adding that “it’s not right to just say that Chinese food is bad for health”. After beef and gosht now witch hunting Chinese food is not proper.
              Reply
              1. R
                R Mitra
                Jun 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm
                Since when have our politicians turned doctors?
                Reply
                1. T
                  Truth
                  Jun 8, 2017 at 5:58 pm
                  Theplas consumed by Fatty-Shah & Co. are the healthiest.....BJP should declare them as India's national food !
                  Reply
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